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‘Ireland’s oldest thatched pub’ delighted to win latest prestigious award

The Crosskeys Inn, Toomebridge, is celebrating after being recognised in the CIE Tours annual Awards of Excellence and winning the overall category for Best Event Dinner and Entertainment.

The prestigious awards returned after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Senior representatives of Ireland’s tourism sector, north and south, came together to once again celebrate the diversity and richness of experiences offered by Irish tourism.

The Crosskeys Inn is a traditional Irish pub dating back almost 370 years to around 1654. Recognised as 'Ireland's oldest thatched pub', the wateringhole in the rural County Antrim countryside has become a favourite stop among locals and tourists alike keen to enjoy a Guinness along with toe-tapping traditional music, while experiencing some authentic 'Crosskeys craic'.

Vincent Hurl, owner of the popular pub now for almost 22 years, said he is delighted with the latest accolade awarded to Crosskeys Inn. Vincent commented:

"We are absolutely delighted to finally be able to announce that The Crosskeys Inn has just won the award for the number one provider for CIE tours for the Best Dinner and Entertainment category.

"This is a huge achievement and a very special award for us at the Crosskeys as this is the top award in this category for the whole of Ireland and Scotland.

"This would not have been possible without the support and hard work of the staff, musicians and customers of the Crosskeys. A big thank you to you all for helping us welcome all of our CIE guests.

"Also a big thank you to all the CIE guests for appreciating their experience and for taking the time to provide such positive feedback, and not forgetting the CIE guides and drivers who help ensure that the tours run smoothly."

Launched in 1990, the Awards recognise Ireland’s hospitality ambassadors – the people and businesses throughout the country who put Irish tourism on the global stage through the warmth of welcome and quality of service provided to our international visitors. CIE Tours, which celebrates 91 years in business is the largest operator of guided tours to Ireland in the North American market, bringing over 25,000 visitors here last year.

Speaking at the presentation of CIE Tours Annual Awards of Excellence Elizabeth Crabill, CEO said:

“The Irish holiday experience is unique, and its popularity is very evident in the strong rebound we witnessed once international travel re-opened following the pandemic.  I want to acknowledge the resilience of our tourism partners who, having had a very difficult few years, enthusiastically welcomed back our visitors once restrictions were lifted.  Your professionalism is reflected in the feedback from our visitors and in these Awards this evening. 

“We are very encouraged by the pipeline of bookings for the coming year, which are ahead of expectations, and we look forward to ensuring that our partners and our host communities continue to benefit from our success in attracting visitors to travel with us to Ireland”.

Ms Crabill concluded by warmly congratulating this year’s winners of a CIE Tours Award of Excellence on their achievements and thanked all the company’s partners who work closely with CIE Tours throughout the year.


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